The White House Press Office in Exile, otherwise known as the tabloids, is in full Trump-boosting, Clinton-bashing, Obama-blaming mode this week.
The president, who has previously lamented the injustice of the National Enquirer being deprived of the Pulitzer Prize it so richly deserves, should be pleased with the rag's immolation of Michael Wolff's political bestseller Fire and Fury, with a cover headline branding it a "Book of Lies!"
"Staffers think prez is dumb. FALSE!" screams the Enquirer's front page. "His ego is out of control. FALSE! He's hated by his own family. FALSE!"
Not satisfied with demolishing Wolff's reporting, the Enquirer claims that the book is part of an attack on Trump "orchestrated by Puppet Master-in-Chief Barack Obama!" Wolff is "part of the Obama hit team" chosen by America's last president to undermine Trump, claims the magazine. And to prove its point, the Enquirer sent audio and video tapes of Wolff for stress analysis, and concluded "Michael Wolff is lying throughout." Well, you can't argue with science.
Sister publication the Globe dances like it's 2016 all over again, with its cover story about Bill and Hillary Clinton's alleged "$365 million bribery scandal" at the Clinton Foundation under the headline: "We're Guilty!" Inside, the story reveals: "Crooked Clintons Confess!"
But it's not just Bill & Hill freely admitting their life of lies – "Trump nails Clinton confession," the Globe crows. Did Trump grill the Clintons in interrogation rooms under bright lights? Hardly.
As the FBI mounts a new probe into possible pay-to-play politics by the Clintons and their Foundation, the Globe claims that the Clintons sought a plea deal to make the whole ugly business go away – and that Trump ordered the Justice Department to make no sweetheart deals, "making good on his promise to lock up the crooked Clintons."
Two quick points: (1) discussing a plea deal is far from a confession, and (2) since the probe is only days old it's unlikely that the Clintons would consider a plea deal before knowing whether the investigation has even dug up any incriminating evidence. The report sounds more like wishful thinking by the Globe team of psychic reporters.
The fantasies continue in the Globe with "Camilla's Deathbed Revenge!" claiming that Princes Charles' wife is "secretly negotiating a mega-bucks deal to tell all in a blockbuster TV interview!" Her aim? ". . . to bring down the royals before she's killed by liver cancer." Another couple of quick thoughts: (1) You're not on your "deathbed" if you're seen walking around quite happily at the Royal Family's Christmas Day church service, and announcing plans to visit a brewery in Wales later this month; and (2) as I've noted before, Camilla's diagnosis of liver cancer appears to have been missed by the combined ranks of Britain's Royal press corps, clearly lacking the psychic skills of the Globe paranormal reporting team.
The tabloids are back to their usual prognosticatory feats with their latest death watch stories. TV's Jeopardy host Alex Trebek, who recently underwent surgery to remove blood clots from his brain, has just "9 weeks to live!" claims the Globe. Start the countdown. Let's not forget Nick Nolte, given just six months to live 18 months ago.
Meanwhile the Enquirer claims that Val Kilmer – given just months to live more than two years ago – now has less than 12 months to live as "cancer spreads to his brain – docs fear." Docs fear? That's sloppy, even for the Enquirer. They usually claim that "friends fear" a celebrity is ill, which they can get away with because "friends" aren't medical experts. But doctors? They know if cancer has spread to the brain or not.
Michael Douglas "knows he could pass away at any time," an unnamed source tells the Enquirer. Shocking. Couldn't we all?
Meghan Markle's "Wedding Dilemmas" dominate the cover of Us magazine, which details "the bride's 11 agonizing decisions." These make first world problems seem trivial: "What tiara will she wear? Will her dad walk her down the aisle? Who will design her dress?" The one question they don't address: Who cares?
People magazine devotes its cover to TV's former Today show host Ann Curry, who "breaks her silence" and "opens up about the pain of leading the Today show." Okay, how much did it hurt? "It hurt like hell . . but I'm stronger now." Good to know.
Fortunately we have the crack investigative team at Us magazine to tell us that Alessandra Ambrosio wore it best, that actress Elsa Pataky's "worst habit is eating doughnuts," that Xscape singer Kandi Burruss carries lipstick, perfume and deodorant in her tote, and that the stars are just like us: they pump gas, buy toilet paper, and eat lunch. Enlightening, as always.
The National Examiner once again brings us the week's best headline: "E.T. Stole My Virginity!" in which David Huggins, aged 74, of New Jersey, "reveals a VERY close encounter he had as a teen." Huggins claims in a new documentary that he not only lost his virginity to an alien, but that he fathered dozens of alien hybrid children. "She had a very nice body," says Huggins of his extra-terrestrial lover. Sounds about as plausible as everything else in this week's tabloids.
Onwards and downwards . . .